DIY: The Brocade Mini


This was my first attempt at sewing a patternless pleated skirt, and I am in love with it! It is very simple to make and it does not require a lot of fabric. I tend to wear skirts that hit above the knee since I am relatively short, but you can make yours whatever length you like.


  • 2 yards of fabric
  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler
  • 7 or 9 inch zipper
  • Straight pins
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Matching thread

I would suggest using a fabric with some weight to it like a cotton or linen fabric. I used a brocade which works great and will make a nice transition from winter to spring. Try looking in the home or interior section in your local fabric store where there are tons of heavier weight fabrics in different patterns and colors.

Now to begin!

Decide how long you want your skirt to be by measuring from your waist down the side of your leg, then add 3 inches for the hem and upper seam. I wanted a 16 inch skirt so I started with a 19 inch long piece of fabric. Do not worry about width yet! Cut your fabric at the length of your choice so that you have a very long rectangle.

Using a ruler and an iron carefully measure and press 2 inch pleats in your fabric leaving 1 1/2 – 2 inches before you begin pleating.


The front should look like this:


The back should look like this:


Continue pressing and pinning until you have a length of pleated fabric that fits your waist measurement. Once I had 28 inches of pleats, I added 1 1/2 inches of un-pleated fabric to the end. If you feel you want to add more, you can. If your fabric is not wide enough to fit the width of the skirt on to, you can do it in two pieces by simply sewing them together after pleating.

Cut your fabric after making sure you have the same amount of extra fabric on both ends, and sew along the top of the pleats to hold them down. I sewed about 1/2 inch down from the top using a small stitch setting.


Then remove the pins. Your skirt should look something like this:


Now for the waistband. I wanted about a 2 inch waistband, so I cut a piece of fabric 5 inches long leaving 1 inch to fold under. For the width, add 3 inches to your waist measurement (or the total sum of the extra you left on either side of the pleated skirt). Mine came out to 31 inches wide.

Fold the band in half with the right sides out and press with an iron. Then open it out and fold in 1/2 inch in on either side pressing well.

Mark the center of the band with a pin and match it up with the center of the skirt. Insert the skirt into the band so that the band covers the stitching on the top of the skirt.


Continue pinning all the way across so that the skirt fits evenly and snugly inside the waistband.


Then sew the band to the skirt. Sew along the front of the skirt so that you can see your stitches. I use a small stitch setting.


Now fold the skirt in half with the right sides facing in, and pin together. Place the zipper along the side and place an extra pin where the bottom metal square of the zipper ends. Sew from the pin to the bottom of the skirt. Then baste from the top of the skirt to the extra pin.

The differences in the stitches should look like this:


Unpin the seam and press it flat. Pin the zipper to one side of the seam allowance and baste it on. Make sure not to sew through the actual band or body of the skirt.


Now pin the zipper flat on to the skirt, flip it over, and stitch along both sides and the bottom using a small stitch setting and a zipper foot (this should come with your machine).


Then unpin and remove the basting.

Turn the skirt inside out and fold a 3/4 – 1 inch hem along the bottom and press well. Then fold over again and press.

IMG_3800  IMG_3803

Now sew along the top of the hem and trim all of the threads.


Finish by pressing the pleats all the way down the body of the skirt to give it a nice clean look.

The back should look something like this:


And the front should look like this:


You can also choose to have the zipper on the side if you like. Just trim any stray threads, press the waistband, and you have a new pleated skirt!


I have been into neutrals lately, and this skirt brings just the right amount of flair to classic look. It is more versatile than I had originally expected, and I can see it getting a lot of wear in the near future!



I paired mine with a vintage blouse, nude heels, and gold accessories.

Have fun choosing your own prints and textures, and always remember to admire your work!!





6 thoughts on “DIY: The Brocade Mini

  1. Mega

    Love the skirt! I’ve been on the hunt for a pretty brocade mini and haven’t really found anything to my taste so far so maybe I’ll follow your lead and sew something 🙂

    1. Lily Post author

      Thank you! And yes, it is sooo hard to find a good one! This was my first pleated skirt and it was much easier than I thought. Good luck with your sewing and thanks for stopping by!


  2. Pingback: Pleated Skirts | Fat Chic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s